Louisiana boasts thousands of miles of coastline and numerous lakes and rivers which make boating a popular recreational activity. Without the proper training and safety measures, however, boating enthusiasts can be seriously injured if a boat accident occurs. If you or a loved one has been injured on the waterways in the Gulf Region, you should consult an experienced boat accident attorney.
Koch & Schmidt is a premier personal injury law firm serving clients throughout Southern Louisiana and the Texas Gulf Region. Well-versed in the applicable boat safety laws and watercraft protocols, we are dedicated to helping boat accident victims obtain the compensation they deserve. While boat accidents involving commercial vessels typically fall under federal maritime law, such as the Jones Act, the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act, and the Death on the High Seas Act, accidents involving recreational boats typically fall under negligence law.
Our legal team is knowledgeable in the negligence laws of Louisiana and Texas and has six decades of experience handling injury claims involving all types of boats including:
- Cruise ships
- Pleasure boats
- Fishing boats
- Personal watercraft (Jet Skis)
- Inflatable rafts
How Our Boating Accident Attorney Can Help
When you become our client, we will handle all the details of your claim so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries. At Koch & Schmidt, all boat accident cases are taken on a contingency basis, which means that you will not pay any attorneys’ fees to us until we win compensation for you. Contact our New Orleans office today to set up a free consultation.
Common Causes of a Boating Accident
According to the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), the leading types of boat accidents include collisions with other vessels, collisions with fixed objects (allisions), flooding and swamping, grounding, and falling overboard. While poor weather and sea conditions can make boating hazardous, the leading causes of boating accidents include:
- Operator inexperience/inattention
- Boating under the influence
- Boats traveling too close together
- Collisions with debris or obstacles in the water
- Failure to obey navigation rules and regulations
- Poor signage
- Improper loading
- Mechanical failure
Given that boat licensing requirements vary state to state, and licenses are often not required, inexperienced boat operators frequently cause or contribute to boat accidents. In any case, if a boat accident is caused by the boat owner’s or operator’s negligence, injury victims have a right to file a civil lawsuit to recover damages. Our boat accident attorneys will leverage their knowledge and skill to hold the responsible party accountable and help you obtain meaningful compensation.
New Orleans Cruise Accident Attorney
New Orleans is a major port of call in the United States, making it a popular choice for people looking to travel on a cruise. Unfortunately, each year people are severely injured in cruise ship accidents such as:
- Collisions involving other vessels or objects at sea
- Violent arrival in a port
- Improper ship maintenance, leading to slip, trip and fall accidents
- Injuries when embarking or disembarking the ship
- Negligent security on board, leading to violent crimes
- Outbreaks of foodborne illnesses and food poisoning
- Poor safety practices, causing passengers to be washed to sea
Regardless of the cause of your cruise ship injury, we will fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.
Gulf of Mexico Boat Accident Injuries
Some common injuries resulting from boating accidents include:
- Head injuries
- Fractures (broken bones)
- Internal injuries
- Severed limbs
- Blunt force trauma
Additionally, boat accident victims are at risk of death by drowning. The USCG notes that about 85 percent of fatalities occur because the victim was not wearing a life jacket, and over 70 percent of boating fatalities occurred on boats operated by someone who did not receive boating safety instruction.
Boat Safety Laws in Louisiana
Under Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries regulations, all boats are required to be registered, and the registration must be onboard at all times. Although it is not necessary to obtain a boating license, boat safety courses are required for individuals born after January 1, 1984. It is, however, illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to operate a boat.
In short, boats and watercraft must be operated in a careful and responsible manner. Operators are required to follow the “rules of the road” for vessels, all passengers under the age of 16 are required to wear a personal flotation device, and all boats are required to be equipped with navigation lights, sounding devices and other safety features.
Boat Safety Laws in Texas
The Texas Water Safety Act includes rules regarding boat registration, operator regulations and safety equipment requirements. In particular, anyone born on or after September 1, 1993 who wishes to operate certain vessels on the public waterways is required to take a Boater Education Certification Course. In addition, boat owners are required to provide passengers with a personal wearable flotation device (safety jacket).
Depending on the size and type of craft, other safety equipment, such as throwable rings, navigational lights, flares and fire extinguishers must also be on board. If injuries in an accident are made worse because of inadequate safety equipment, the boat owner or operator may be found negligent.
In sum, boat owners and operators in the Gulf Region are responsible for ensuring that passengers are safe at all times: vessels must be operated safely and reasonable care must be taken not to cause injury to passengers and other boaters. A boat owner who fails to meet this obligation can be held liable for accidents that result in personal injuries.
Contact Our Experienced Louisiana Boating Accident Attorney
Koch & Schmidt has been fighting for the rights of boating accident victims for over six decades. We are dedicated to keeping the waterways of the Gulf Region safe for everyone and holding negligent boat owners and operators accountable for causing harm to others. If you have been injured in a boating accident, we will conduct an extensive investigation to understand the cause of the accident and explore all your options for obtaining compensation.
Although each injury claim is unique, you may be entitled to significant compensation that includes economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages cover actual financial losses such as lost and future income and medical expenses; non-economic damages are designed to compensate you for intangible losses like pain and suffering, permanent disability, and loss of enjoyment of life. If a loved one has been killed in a boating accident, we can help you find justice through a wrongful death lawsuit.
After a boating accident, receiving medical attention should be your priority. Once you have begun recovering, the best way to protect your rights is to have proper legal representation. Please contact our office today to set up a free consultation.